How to start and run a garbage collection service

Do you want to reduce waste? The average American generates 1,704 pounds of garbage every year; scale that to the city level, and you’ll see how garbage collection services are essential to society.

Given its importance in keeping communities clean, it’s also a lucrative enterprise, and small garbage collection firms can earn millions of dollars per year. However, it’s not as simple as getting a truck and going around collecting people’s trash.

If you’re looking to start your own business, there are other things in the operation you’ll need to know. Here are six elements you need to know about starting a garbage collection service:

Operating With the Proper Permits

Each state has different rules and regulations for waste management services. A prerequisite is to consult the agencies that manage an area’s waste; you will learn about the permits you need and how much they’ll cost.

For example, garbage collection companies in Mecklenburg County must have county commercial hauling company permits. They cost $30 per vehicle for the first nine, and the additional ones will cost $20 each.

You also have to consult about regulations covering legal dumping procedures. Each state inspects the equipment, facilities, and operating methods.

Having the Right Vehicle

A genuine garbage truck or dumpster isn’t necessary to haul the trash, as long as you can do it with a large pickup truck or van. Keep in mind that you need the appropriate insurance for commercial use.

What’s important here is to use a vehicle with cargo space to collect and move trash. Check out these front loaders for sale if you want actual garbage trucks.

Equipment Needs

A smartphone and a laptop are essential to running a garbage collection service. These are necessary for contacting customers, setting up appointments, for keeping up your records and accounting. A smartphone’s GPS is also handy for navigating an unfamiliar area.

Other equipment might be necessary depending on your vehicle. You may need straps to secure the garbage or a ramp for loading some containers. Keeping a standard toolkit in the car is also a must.


Advertising is crucial to the success of any startup business. Making simple flyers and distributing them around the area is a good start.

You can also put up ads in the local paper, radio, or TV, but you must establish an online presence if you want to expand your reach. 

While you don’t need a website immediately, social media is your go-to platform. Referrals are also crucial for landing new customers. Keep your customers happy and ask them for referrals. 

Give business cards to clients and friends so they can contact you or pass them on.

Getting Insurance

The right insurance can be of great help to a garbage collector. You’ll need this for your vehicle, especially if you have a garbage truck. Liability insurance is crucial for safety when you’re hauling stuff on people’s property.

Now You Know How a Garbage Collection Service Works!

Waste management services are essential to keeping communities clean. It’s also a profitable business. Remember the items in this guide if you want to start your own garbage collection service.

Want to know more about garbage collection services? You can read our other guides here.